Matters of Life and Death

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Simulation: Deep fakes, image as sacrament, David Beckham in Mandarin and therapy chatbots

Today’s topic is simulation. We live in an era when digital technology is making it increasingly easy and cheap to create fake but compelling images or videos of people, or even entirely artificial human-like personalities. Machine learning tools and progress in artificial intelligence software means we are closer than ever to things previously only imaginable in science fiction: computer programs which can speak to us like a human or androids which are indistinguishable from real people. In this episode we discuss examples of this kind of tech already in the world, what impact it may have in the future, and how we as Christians should think about these forms of simulated images, relationships and personalities. 


Tom Cruise deep fakes on TikTok

Synthesia - the company offering deep fake videos as corporate communications

MyHeritage Deep Nostalgia - a family history DNA company will now use AI to animate your old photos of dead relatives, 'bringing them back to life'

Affectiva - who claim to use AI to analyse human emotional states from looking at their faces

Simulation and Simulacra - the seminal work by Jean Baudrillard

The Truman Show film

The Matrix film

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5/26/2021

Coronavirus: Miscounting deaths, the Sun's front page, key workers with long covid and vaccine generosity

In today’s episode we’re returning to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s been almost six months since we last dedicated an episode to covid, and since then a lot has happened. Hundreds of millions of vaccine doses have been delivered around the world, but are they going to the right people at the right time? We now know the vaccines increase by a tiny amount the risk you might experience a dangerous blood clot in the brain – how have we done at understanding that risk and putting it in its proper context? We’re also sadly much more familiar with long covid– what’s going on there and how should we as a society look after those suffering these symptoms? And finally, does the way we count – or rather, significantly undercount – deaths caused by coronavirus really matter?Please take our three-minute listener survey to help us improve the podcast - https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdJjFoI3G6a-5lJ07S7vBm_yxOkDVoDQXQfI6RnrZSJNI2zuw/viewformThe ONS report on how many people in the UK have long covid - https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/prevalenceofongoingsymptomsfollowingcoronaviruscovid19infectionintheuk/1april2021 The BBC Radio 4 programme on long covid - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000w4t4The Sun's front page on the blood clot risk - https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/14589798/brilliant-front-page-oxford-astrazeneca-vaccine/The government's information page on the blood clot risk with the covid vaccines - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting